This week, we’ll start with making a new statue, featuring your mom Charlotte! This statue will be part of one of the spooky Startington challenges and will contain one of the objects needed to progress:

Some more fixes in preparation for the spooky Startington bit, starting with a mysterious hole in the floor of this room:

This hole is there for the perfect guard challenge, making it clear for the player that they are not able to wander off during the challenge.

Next, some minor adjustments to the statue from before, editing her outfit to match what we’ve previously shown Charlotte wearing:

There are also a couple more Ghost portraits to be made, with the first one being a spooky Tai Ming seamstress :

Next, an old man looking for his wife, lost somewhere on the ship:

Finally, as part of the new creepy Startington, Fred has been working on some old NPCs that will be returning:

Exciting times! Slowly but surely, this part of the dungeon comes together as well :)

For those of you who have opted into Steam’s client beta, you’ll have noticed that there’s a new library style in the works, which calls for new and improved graphics to showcase each game. For starters, here’s what the header of each game looks like now, and more specifically what the default was and how we changed it around adding our own graphics:

Unfortunately for us, being a pixel game and all, the automatic resizing won’t do us many favours, but it could be worse!

You library has a more clean view featuring cover art as well, like so:

How do you guys find this new library update? Do you like it or not? I think the best bit is how more visually satisfying it is to browse your library, seeing all of the juicy cover art all lined up! And of course, it’ll only get better as more and more games add these new graphics :)

Next it’s time for a bunch of smaller graphic assets needed here and there throughout the game! Starting off with a super cute very scary chest:

And a skeleton key, because which ghost ship would be complete without them:

For this room, we added some spooky decorations on a wooden board to give the players a hint there might be something there if you swap over to the ghost world:

We also weren’t quite happy with how fresh and clean these shelves looked, so we wore them down a bit:

Finally, a couple expressions for the captain, to give the cutscenes a bit more oomph:

Speaking of expressions, here are some more, featuring the rest of the main story cast in the Ghost Ship:

And since we decided to put Pine in one of the cabins, we thought we’d put in a bunch of Flying Fortress decorations in there as well:

Finally, let’s take a look at some animations for the final boss of the dungeon… Our dear friend Luke!
First up a bunch of sketches for what he could look like in this boss version:

And the first batch of animations made for him combo’d together:

In this week’s Monday Meeting we spent a great deal of time discussing the final challenge in the creepy version of Startington (among other things)! As you might remember from a previous meeting post ages ago, there will be three challenges in this surrealistic and spooky version of Startington: one where you fight a ton of slimes which gives you a card called Obsession, and one where you do some tough shield training and gain a wooden shield called Expectations.

In our latest iterations of the third challenge, we’ve been working around the theme of Deceit. In this latest iteration of the challenge, there will be a block puzzle in which you move blocks with each of the artifacts to designated squares (rather than a key block puzzle).

Mechanically we have a couple of ideas for how to make this more fitting the strange world; one is that instead of moving the blocks, the room will move, the other that as you attempt to move on block, another of the blocks will move instead. We’re not entirely sure which of these we’ll go for, or if we’ll do something else entirely, but we’ll start off with making prototypes of these two ideas first and see whichever one feels the most cool.

Next up, it’s time for us to “creepify” the interiors of the Startington houses! Our idea is that the player will enter each house in its original form and complete a challenge in there, after which the building will deteriorate and become dark and gloomy:

The second house creepified:

And same thing for the third house:

And we’ll end this week with a bunch of gifs from the second boss fight of the dungeon: the Evil Eye or the Twilight Beholder, that has finally been finished! This boss uses a lot of lasers and creepy eyes to try to eliminate you, so you better keep your wits about you :)

Another week and more boss progress! There are so many things we could do with this boss that it’s difficult to choose which attacks and patterns we want to keep. One of the things we’ve done recently is working on tweaking one of the eye boss new attacks, featuring a barrage of eyes that will eventually explode! There are a bunch of sliders we can use to tweak this attack, and one of them is number of eyes:

..and also the shape of the explosion circles, below with a more circular shape:

The one above is probably closest to what we’re aiming for for now, but as with everything else this might be changed with more testing!

The latest iteration of the laser attack now also has proper lasers, and more eyes:

As you can see here, the trick is figuring out which eye colors are not present in the big eye, which will let you know which eyes won’t be firing the laser. To make this a little easier we’re also adding symbols to the eyes, making them easier to tell apart:

We haven’t decided exactly which of these symbols we’ll use yet, as we want to pick the ones that are the most clear from the side as well. Fred has already started playing around with what the eyes would look like from the side, but we’re not quite there just yet:

We know this boss (and the map in general) is taking ages to finish, but we’re determined to not let it go until each of us is fully satisfied with the fight, and we believe that once we’ve gotten to that point, it will all be worth it! Hopefully the third floor will be complete enough to run through and test very soon… :)

Meanwhile my work outside of the Ghost Ship continues with more improvements, and we’re slowly working out way down to Evergrind East; here’s a couple more of my sketches for more places we’ll improve upon:

And so we’ll start with the first two sketches, adding some more decorations first to the second Pillar Mountains map:

…and then we move to the area right before Evergrind City to spice up Evergrind East a little bit:

Next up, Evergrind City’s entrance itself, a slightly bigger job adding some decorations and making the wall more prominent:

We’ll start off this new week with adding a slight puzzle or bonus thing to the corridor thing, featuring a pushable piece of staircase!

Our goal is to include a bunch of these optional things for the players to do while making their way through the ghost ship, as well as the side quests with the ghosts that we’ll be adding likely at a later date.

For now though, let’s take a look at how I move things around and create this rather simple puzzle thing:

As we come up with more of the ghosts that you’ll meet in the ghost ship, a couple of the rooms need to change a little to properly house them. This cabin for instance, which was left rather bland while we decided which ghost we wanted to stay in it, has now been turned into a singing diva ghost’s cabin:

And of course, with the addition of all of these ghosts, it’s time to start making portraits for them as well! Starting today with the pianist:

The next spirit portrait is that of an old lady! Sometime during the many years since the ship left harbour, she got separated from her husband. Will you be able to reunite them again?

In Fred’s animation department, there’s a bunch of more enemy details being worked on! The eerie painting can now spin around like a madma-… err madspirit, and there are some creepy eyeballs rolling around (ew):

For one of the puzzles there will be torches to light, and ghosts holding them up:

And also, a couple more friendly(ish) ghosts to live on the ship:

Alright! New week, and with my work on the ghost ship mostly done for now, it’s time to start looking back on those improvement ideas I was working on a little while ago!

Starting with the Pillar Mountains portion, here’s a bunch of the new props that will decorate the town area:

With more to come – I already have a bunch of new ideas for stuff to add here aside from these items, but I think I’ll continue on with the sketches I’ve already made for now, meaning Pillar Mountains is next!

So, moving on to the Pillar Mountains improvements, we’ll start off with a couple of random things to give the area a bit more personality; some poles and a railing of some sort (gotta keep the kids from falling off the mountain now don’t we):

I’m also gonna make a bunch of other plants and stuff to make the area seem a little bit more lush as well, starting off with this one:

Some more greenery to spice up these backgrounds:

As well as another one of those poles, this one facing the other direction:

I also feel like we could use some bigger variance between the trees so I decided to make another birch, this one a bit smaller than the one we use already:

And here’s where we’re at after having added a bunch of more stuff:

I think Pillar Mountains will definitely look a bit more interesting after this, especially with a bunch of more things added which we’ll look at later on…

For now though, it’s time to return to the Ghost Ship! With Teddy and Fred having started work on the third floor, things become more and more clear and one of the things we wanted to change slightly is the background of the corridor leading to the huts, making it bigger, so here goes:

A bit more space in there! I think I’ll have to add some more random boxes and stuff around the room to keep it from feeling too empty, but one step at a time right :)

And of course, Fred having started work on the third floor means more ghosts! Here’s a bunch of the spirits you’ll meet on your adventures through the ship:

New week, and it’s time to finish up the third floor (my part of it, anyway)! With the hub room finished, the third floor backgrounds are more or less completed, and all that remains now is to add those fancy border decorations:

…and apply the floor masks to make sure the effects all go in their proper places:

Now that the interior of the ship is mostly done, it’s time to start focusing on finishing up the exterior, where the last boss of this dungeon will take place. Looking back at the shape of the ship, I felt a bit displeased with the way it looked and so decided to improve on it a bit, starting with the front:

Slightly better, no? I’ll adjust the back a little bit as well I think, but after that the exterior should be more and less done as well – until we start testing out the boss battle and no doubt need to adjust certain things, at least!

Continuing on then, the back of the ship needed a slight upgrade as well shape wise, so here goes:

In the interior, a while ago we decided to change the direction in which you travel through the eastern part of the ship’s third floor, resulting in that I had to change which of the rooms contained the rope ladder and which contained the jumpdown:

We’ve also had quite a few discussions regarding what we want to happen on the ship’s third floors, and a lot of our talks have revolved around whether or not we’d like to include friendly ghosts on the ship. Early on we wanted to avoid this, but as time went on we became more and more enthusiastic about the idea of having some friendly ghosts to chat to that could also give you quests; so we decided to go for it. As such, the final part of the ship will involve some traditional questing where you need to bring some ghosts back to their senses in order to get to the final part of the ship. Of course, once this is done you’ll also be able to do other quests with ghosts on the ship, making it a semi bustling place of its own (hopefully). Don’t worry though, we won’t go overboard (ha) – we’ll try to keep the amount of NPCs on the ships to a decent amount (and not Tai Ming style 60+) :)

With this addition, we actually feel a lot more excited about the ship as a whole, so hopefully it’ll be something you guys enjoy as well!

And speaking of which, here’s a bunch of Fred’s tests for the ghost NPCs which he starting working on pretty much as soon as we decided this is the route we want to take (did I mention we are quite excited about this addition?):

The first completed ghost is the spirit of a pianist who once played at the grand soirĂ©es of the hub room, but now has forgotten who he is and floats around the ship looking for clues that will return his memories… How sad! Will you be able to help him?

This week it’s time for some more trap prototyping! This time we’ve been working on those eyes we’re using in the ‘ghost bridge’ room, but here they serve as a ‘trap’ of sort in an ordinary fighting room.

In our first iteration, we used the eye in the same way we use it in the ghost bridge room; basically moving back and forth in a set speed. If you’re in the regular world, the beam from its eye will be slightly transparent and won’t deal damage, while in the ghost world it’s darker and will damage you quite a bit if you get hit by it.

For the second iteration, we wanted the eye to feel more ‘alive’, so we’ve given it a couple patterns. Either it will slowly open its eye and cast a beam straight forward, or it’ll look to the sides as in the example above for a little bit before closing up again. These patterns are then randomized so you never know which one it will do next; you’ll have to keep track of it to know how to dodge it.

We do prefer the second version so far, as it makes the eye feel more like a living thing rather than something that just ‘blindly’ (ha) looks back and forth forever. It also keeps the players on their toes a bit since they need to keep track of what it will do next, rather than just dodge the eye beam over and over.

And now, time for something much less exciting but still very needed… Some background masking! This is a technique we use when we want certain effects and such to only be visible on the floor and nowhere else. Basically, each part of the floor is painted with a color (in this case a pretty pink), which will be used as a guide in the game for where the effect can appear.

Starting out by applying this to the first floor rooms, since we want to finish up the first floor and get it all sorted out before we move on to the other floors:

Next up, the captain’s portrait! To make sure I’m getting his features right, I’m going to trace the boss sprite for this one, using it as a base for the portrait:

And here’s the finished thing:

As I mentioned before, we’re currently working on finishing up the first floor. That means going over each room and adding the remaining details that have been missing. For the very first room, that entails adding a ton of boxes and crates to give the room a bit more ‘storage room’-y feeling:

Quite a few boxes! We thought of blocking the path leading straight to the door, but ended up keeping it open as we felt like forcing the player to take the long way around might feel a bit overdesigned.

Meanwhile in the animation department, the enemies are finally being polished into their final forms, their animations cleaned up with further details added. Just look at this:

Time to go over the rooms one more time and make a bunch of fixes! First up, making the room we made most recently slightly smaller, just to give it a feeling of being more crowded:

Secondly, roughing up the edges of the water part of the first boss battle room, so it doesn’t look as purposefully made:

Next, because of the mechanic allowing the player to fall down from ghost bridges in this room, I had to change the side of the hole slightly to make sure the player can’t fall down into it:

Also remade part of this background so that as the bookcase slides to the left to reveal the door upon completing the puzzle hidden inside, the floor shows the path accordingly:

And finally, added some numbers to the cabin room entrances, just to give it the feel of actually being cabins:

Now, after talking about it some more, we actually decided to make the small map room even smaller, and by quite a lot:

I made a painting of the ghost ship in its regular as well as its ‘spirit world’ version:

And also made a portrait that will be used later on in the captain’s room, featuring the captain himself. This time I started with the spirit world version, and went on to make make the regular world/human version:

And next, something small from the port town of Port Monnaie, adding a path to the left side entrance to the mayor’s house. At first we tried with a carpet, but we ended up going with the path since we thought it just looked a little bit better in the end:

Next up, it’s time to add some of those decorations Fred were playing around with to the rooms! I’ll start by adding them to the first floor to begin with, since we want to get that floor as completed as possible before moving on. Our hope is to be able to play through the first floor in its proper form asap, so we finally can get a real feeling for what everything’s supposed to be like before moving on.

So, here goes:

I definitely feel these decoration help with giving the ship a more… ship-y feel? And also makes quite a big difference in the detail level of each room as well. What do you guys think?

Now, finally it’s time to get up close and personal with the final enemy in the ghost ship: the crabs! They’ve been ‘finished’ for quite a while, but after we tested them Teddy removed the prototype room so I couldn’t record any gifs showing ’em off!

Now though, let’s take a look at these beasts:

Our inspiration for these guys were pretty much the boars, straight up. Just a semi-tanky enemy that can rush in and annoy you while you’re minding your own business. They also have some regular attacks, but if you stay too far away from them, chances are higher they will run in to mess you up, as seen above.

Upon defeating them, they will fall onto their back and disappear in the usual puff of smoke!

Unlike the other enemies in the ghost ship, the crabs are the only ones that work the same regardless of whether you’re in the ghost world or regular world. So, where the ghosts might become invulnerable or invisible in the regular world and gain increasingly powerful attacks in the ghost world, these guys will continue on as usual.

Meanwhile, Fred’s been busy making all kinds of creepy animations for the ship, taking the props I made and making them even more creepy by having them move (or making completely new and creepy animation we’ll stick here and there across the ship):

Which one’s your favorite? I think mine’s the first, featuring the lovely bag!

Remember this room from last week= One of the doors that lead out of this room will be hidden until you complete the puzzle, so to hide it and give the room a bit more character I’ve been making a couple of shelves and decorations for them!

Once you complete the puzzle, the shelf on the right will slide across the floor and reveal the door behind it!

The next step is of course to ghostify the world, something we’ve been doing for a lot of rooms by now, so the process is pretty straight forward:

Next up, there’s the room that’s waiting inside the one we just finished. This is a room with some maps and notes, and also a key that will lead you to the next floor!

And the next step – of course! More ghostifying! This spirit world version is much like the other spirit world version rooms across the ship, bringing in the snake, spiders and bones:

Another thing we’ve been working on lately is a special encounter / mini boss type of deal featuring…. a fridge! Previously, we talked about the kitchen area of the ship being a bullet hell challenge, but seeing as the boss already uses a lot of bullet hell mechanics we thought we’d spice things up a bit by doing something slightly different.

So what you see below is a prototype of this battle, using the good old living puzzle block as a base (when it’s finished it’ll be an actual fridge, rest assured):

So basically, the idea here is that it jumps around in the kitchen, where some fires spring up from vents in the floor (a normal feature for every decent kitchen, right?) and your goal is to make it land on the fire as it appears, so the flames will damage it. In this first prototype, we used shockwaves as the thing that damages the player, but since it’s a fridge, what we want from it is something closer to this:

Ice attacks! We’re already quite satisfied with this encounter as it is right now, so all we gotta do now is give it some proper graphics.